Jayden Hughes named First African American Student Valedictorian at Sebastian River High School

Jayden Hughes
Jayden Hughes

Sebastian River High School Senior Jayden Hughes has been named the first-ever African American Valedictorian at Sebastian River High School. The graduation ceremony will take place at the SRHS Stadium on Saturday, May 21, 2022, at 8:00 am. 

Jayden is an IB Diploma Candidate with a weighted GPA of 4.608, an AP Scholar with Honors, and the first recipient of the “Doctor Peggy Jones Principal’s Award.” He was also selected for College Board National Recognition Programs, which creates pathways to college for students from underserved communities by awarding them academic honors and connecting them with universities across the country.

He is the President of the National Honor Society, a member of the Masterminds Club, the Chick-Fil-A Leader Academy, and the National Technical Honors Society. In addition, he has received his Biotechnician Assistant Credentialing. 

By becoming Valedictorian, Jayden has learned that sometimes we must sacrifice here and there to achieve our goals.  

“To be awarded Valedictorian, it feels like a surreal experience that still has not happened yet. This has been one of the most long-term goals I have ever stuck to, so to finally reach this point, I feel nothing but grateful. Through the sleepless nights and many other responsibilities I have in my life, it feels gratifying that it was all worth it in the end. This journey has truly taught me that sometimes we must sacrifice here and there to achieve the things we have always strived for,” Jayden told Sebastian Daily.

The most influential people in Jayden’s life are his parents. His father, Henry, was a Vero Beach High School Graduate, and his mother, Venessa, was a Sebastian River High School graduate. Both are highly driven individuals and successful in their careers.

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“The most influential person in my life, or people rather, must be my parents. I will always be grateful and appreciative of the sacrifices they have endured to give my sister and me the lives we have now. With both coming from humble backgrounds and seeing their drive to provide for their family daily, it’s a characteristic that I try to implement in my life every day. Regardless of what you are doing, it has to come from within to make the change you want to see happen,” the Valedictorian told us.  

Jayden’s Valedictorian speech will likely be modeled off of former President Barack Obama. As a kid growing up, Jayden found Obama’s speeches moving and eloquent. He admires his ability to captivate audiences and make the most complex topics easy to grasp. He hopes to achieve this when delivering his message.

In Jayden’s free time, he loves to work out and watch new movies and shows, which allow his mind time to rest. 

“Working out has become my outlet where I can let my brain relax and allow the constant activity to come to a halt. I try to get 4-5 workouts in a week, and it has also just made me feel better about myself overall. I used to make excuses about being inconsistent with it, but I finally told myself, ‘If it’s really a priority, you always have the time.’ Tv shows and movies have always been a staple part of my family, and as I’ve grown up, I’ve realized I enjoy the different stories and perspectives they offer and again, allow my mind time to rest,” Jayden stated.

After graduation, Jayden will attend either the University of Florida or Duke University. He will likely go into a Biology/Pre-med track or a Biotechnology track.  

“Duke has been my dream school since I was in middle school, and I truly hope I can find a way to get there. If not, I still know that UF is an amazing school as well with incredible opportunities,” Jayden told Sebastian Daily

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About Tina Hodges 932 Articles
Tina Hodges is a Sebastian native. After graduating from Sebastian River High School, she studied Business Management & Marketing at Indian River State College. Tina worked for Dooney & Bourke for many years before she became our VP of Sales & Marketing & Journalist. Tina joined Sebastian Daily in 2016.